Smart people and biases - Deepstash

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Why Smart People Are Stupid

Smart people and biases

We often assume that intelligence guards against bias. Its why those with higher S.A.T. scores think they are less likely to make universal thinking mistakes.

However, smarter people are more vulnerable to these thinking errors.

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Why Smart People Are Stupid

Why Smart People Are Stupid

https://www.newyorker.com/tech/frontal-cortex/why-smart-people-are-stupid

newyorker.com

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Key Ideas

Mental shortcuts

We’re not nearly as rational as we like to believe. When we face an uncertain situation, we fail to evaluate the information or to look up relevant statistics carefully.
Instead, we depend on our mental shortcuts which may lead us to make rash decisions.

Biases and human intelligence

  • People who are aware of their own biases are not better able to overcome them. Our intuitive thinking is just as prone to overconfidence, extreme predictions, and the planning fallacy.
  • According to scientists, intelligent people have a larger bias blind spot. They can spot systematic flaws in others, but not in themselves. They will excuse their own minds but harshly judge the minds of other people. 

The root causes of our irrationality

When we assess ourselves for biases, we tend to engage in elaborate introspection. The problem with the introspection approach is that the driving forces behind biases remain largely invisible to self-analysis and t is also impermeable to intelligence.

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... specifically cognitive biases, are your unchecked tendencies to make decisions or take actions in an irrational way. 

Instead of making decisions based on facts and data, you ...

Biases = shortcuts for processing information

The brain creates shortcuts in order to make fast decisions when it hits information or inspiration overload

These shortcuts form unconscious biases so it’s easier for your brain to categorize information and make quick judgments over and over again.

Self-serving Bias
It causes you to claim your successes and ignore your failures. 

This means that when something good happens, you take the credit, but when something bad happens, you blame it on external factors.

Self-serving bias may manifest at work when you receive critical feedback. Instead of keeping an open mind, you may put up a defense when your manager or team member is sharing feedback or constructive criticism.

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Distinction bias

Is the tendency to over-value the effect of small quantitative differences when comparing options.

For example: we think a 1,200 square foot home will make us happier than a 1,000 squa...

Overcome distinction bias

  • Don’t compare options side by side: In comparison mode, we end up spending too much time playing “spot the difference.” Instead, evaluate each choice individually and on their own merit.
  • Know your “Must-Haves” before you look for something to buy: that way, you won't get suckered into features you don’t really need.
  • Optimize for things you can’t get used to: your happiness will adjust back to anything that is stable and certain like your income, the size of your house, or the quality of your TV.

Self-awareness has 2 components
  • Internal self-awareness: the ability to introspect and recognize your authentic self;
  • External self-awareness: the ability to recognize how you fit in with the rest of the world. ...
The “bias blind spot"

It relates to our tendency to recognize cognitive biases in others, without noticing them in ourselves. In other words, our brain isn’t built to easily spot our own lack of self-awareness.  

Self-awareness and leadership

After examined the traits that contribute to the effectiveness of successful leaders, researchers concluded that a high level of self-awareness was the strongest predictor of success: when leaders are self-aware, they know how to hire subordinates who are strong in the areas where they themselves are weak.

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